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Random Rainy Day Ramblings and Research

Well, that was stimulating! I must say, my last blog post certainly got me thinking, and it would appear that it stirred up a few things in you wonderful readers, as well ~ sadly confirming that the issue of slashing funding to the arts resounds across the universe in deafening fashion, it’s simply that Kansas is leading the way. Not the kind of leadership I can stand behind, I’m afraid.

But feeling helpless or harboring hopelessness has never sat well with me. In fact, I detest it. I much prefer to be certain that in my little circle of life I’m doing all I can to address the things that I wish to change.  The undesirable situation may or may not change ~ many things remain out of our control ~ but I prefer to go to sleep at night knowing I tried.

So I’ve been scouring around for solace, solutions, wisdom, inspiration ~ grasping for anything, really, that might provide insight ~ and not only was I INUNDATED with an abundance of good news and uplifting material, but my sense of security in humanity and the arts is greater than before.  However, the reality persists that it will take the effort of many people to be sure that not too much damage is done while people with short-sighted, or let’s say simply misguided vision are in power.

So this is my plea to you ~ “the choir” (the ones who already believe so passionately that the Arts are a NECESSITY in our society) ~ please use your voice to be sure that those in YOUR circle know the facts, sense the urgency, and understand what is at stake.  I fear that the majority of people will wake up one day and simply say, “What happened?”, and perhaps if we speak up, they will be ignited to activate their power to assure that what we all know to be inherently vital in our lives, will not fall into obscurity.

So, please allow me to arm you with a few random bits of goodness I’ve stumbled upon (a few graciously forwarded by some of you – the Brilliant Yankeediva Readers!!!) and have at it: Pass it around. Get inspired. Call yourself and your friends into action. Silence is the thing, I’m certain, to avoid at this moment.  Feel free to use this, or my Facebook page, as a forum to sound out ideas and inspire each other to action. Why not, right?

My inspiration from the week:

“Benjamin Zander on Music and Passion” Why Classical Music, is, INDEED, for EVERYONE.  Why should we buy into the assumption that Classical Music is for only 3% of the population? He demonstrates how it CAN be for everyone, and why we need to radically spread that word.  I’ve started to get upset with some of the “powers that be” that seem to be constantly apologizing for, in particular, Opera, and think it is more important than ever that we start singing the praises of these art forms that are unlike any other, and offer greater benefits to society than we ever give them credit for. If we can’t explain and defend and proclaim why they are important and necessary, why should we expect anyone to attend, let alone fund our endeavors?

Makoto Fujimura on “The Value of Art” One of the best essays I’ve read on why “the Arts are not a peripheral luxury for the elite few, but a central necessity for how a civilization is to be defined, and how our humanity is restored.”  This article alone provides ample ammunition for why a society needs culture and an artistic voice.

Health Benefits No joke!  In my last blog I posted a great article about the financial benefits to a healthy arts sector in a society.  I’m still somewhat convinced this will be the most effective, pragmatic argument to grab a leader’s attention. But it certainly can’t hurt to point out well defined health benefits to singing: longer lives, better immune systems, higher intelligence? (Surely tenors weren’t included in the study! ;-)) Personally, I think there are numerous others, but I need more time for the actual scientific studies.

Passionate, Courageous Soldiers I am constantly shocked and awed by the heroic stories I hear of the people in the trenches who are operating on much less than a shoestring budget in the music classroom’s across the country: the music teacher. They are the lone voices who are trying to keep alive the joy and discovery of introducing music to children, and I love her take on the price reality television might be costing the voices of tomorrow.  (The thing that I miss in this, however, is that American Idol is a competion, and goodness knows going into the music business is as competitive as it gets, but her overall point of ENCOURAGING young singers is a very important one.) Please support your local music teachers ~ they need it!

Jim Gilliam ~ “The Internet is my Religion” You may need a few tissues nearby if you press play below, but I can promise you that it is incredibly powerful, and likely worth your time. Now I’m smarter than to open up a religious discussion here, and while “Religion” is in the title, it’s much more about the power of humanity, the power of activism, the power of the spirit, and gives me hope that through connection and determination ANYTHING is possible. ANYTHING.

Karl Paulnack to the Boston Conservatory Freshman Class Without question THE greatest argument I have ever read for the NECESSITY of music in our lives. If you don’t read anything else on the topic, please do read this. Please pass it to everyone you know. Please live this out. In his speech to the incoming Freshman, he charges them:

“Frankly, ladies and gentlemen, I expect you not only to master music; I expect you to save the planet. If there is a future wave of wellness on this planet, of harmony, of peace, of an end to war, of mutual understanding, of equality, of fairness, I don’t expect it will come from a government, a military force or a corporation. I no longer even expect it to come from the religions of the world, which together seem to have brought us as much war as they have peace. If there is a future of peace for humankind, if there is to be an understanding of how these invisible, internal things should fit together, I expect it will come from the artists, because that’s what we do. As in the concentration camp and the evening of 9/11, the artists are the ones who might be able to help us with our internal, invisible lives.”

Truly.

Finally, in what may appear unrelated, but I assure you is not: A Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbeds

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

I propose that music and the arts facilitate each and every single one of these items with staggering power. Music helps us discover who we truly are and allows us that precious avenue in which to express that. (Hence the reason it can be a threat to people…)  Music IS play.  Expressing your feelings? Ha. Not even debatable. Are there many other greater ways to share and grow with friends than through dance or song? NOPE. And music IS joy. Period. So, as we can conclude with perfect accuracy and certainty: music is the avenue to a regret-free death. What else do we need?!?!

Ah, yes – we do need Kevin Bacon:

Honestly, who can argue with Kevin?

“It’s the way it was in the beginning. It’s the way it’s always been. It’s the way it should be now!”

So, spread the word!

20 hours ago

#Songplay has arrived! It was such a joy to start this tour at the @seattlesymphony and to bring our songs to you!… https://t.co/UXeBkjfPBn

19 Feb

March 4, baby!! https://t.co/CRGkYXKTbv

18 Feb

Letting their lights shine and shine and shine!!! Shine on, superstars!!!!! @brownleetenor ericowensopera… https://t.co/KG5rbmb74c

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#Songplay has arrived! It was such a joy to start this tour at the @seattlesymphony and to bring our songs to you! An endless shout-out to this SUPERLATIVE band. What a lucky girl, I am!! Bravo #craigterry @hotlipsporter @lautaro_greco #chuckisraels #jimmymadison Thanks for the gorgeous welcome, #Seattle, and hope to see you all at a city near you!!! #playwiththatsong #yougottalovetobeabletoplay #withasonginmyheart photo: Peter Dervin

Kicking off our #Songplay tour @benaroyahall in Seattle TONIGHT!!! • More tour dates: Feb 20 • Berkeley, CA @cal_performances • Feb 25 • St. Paul, MN @schubertclub • Feb 27 • Oberlin, OH @oberlincon • Mar 1 • Boston, MA @celebrityseries • Mar 4 • New York NY @lincolncenter • Mar 10 • Princeton NJ @princeton • ★★★★★ “This album deserves to be heard by anyone who admires exceptional singing and instrumental craftsmanship, whether in opera, jazz or popular music.” ~ @dailymail #yougottolovetobeabletoplay • Photo: @chrissingerme 🎩🎈💋 • 🎶 Listen to the album here: 🔗 link in bio.

Letting their lights shine and shine and shine!!! Shine on, superstars!!!!! @brownleetenor @ericowensopera #craigterry @benaroyahall Thank you for the #soulfood

★★★★★ "Mind-blowing performances that, I wager, would bring even the most discerning jazz club audience to their feet." ~ @dailymail #Songplay I'm game!!! We start on Monday at @benaroyahall!!! We. Can. Not. Wait!!! #yougottolovetobeabletoplay photo: @chrissingerme 🎩🎈💋

#Songplay 4 #Playbill!! I love it!

🎈Take a look behind the scenes of our fabulous photo shoot shot by the divine Chris Singer at the @houseofyesnyc in Brooklyn. Like the recording, it was the most fun I’ve ever had on a shoot thanks to the extraordinary creative team! Take a look! Take a listen. Share your favorite track! 🎶❤️🎉💃 Songplay is available worldwide today. • 🎧 Listen to the album here: 🔗 link in bio. • • 📷 Photography: @chrissingerme • 🎥 Video: @iamkarinsinger • 💍 Jewelry: @tamsenznyc • 👗 Gowns: @viviennewestwood • 🎨Art direction: @catecool • 🎩Styling & set design: @vitatzykun • 💄Make-up: @glowbyaffan • 📀 Album artwork: @lennysstudio • • The beauty of old Italian melodies, the charm of American classics, the swing of jazz... fusing sounds and styles without limits 🎤🎷🎹🎻🥁🎺• • It has been some of the most joyous music making of my life!! ❤️❤️😃😃🥰🥰 @warner_classics #NewMusicFriday @warnerclassicsus

“You got to love to be able to play.” - Louis Armstrong 📣 My new album 🎩 #SONGPLAY is now available worldwide! 🎙️ Listen here 🔗 link in bio. 🎈 🎈🎈🎈#Playwiththatsong 💄💄💄@glowbyaffan 👗👗👗@viviennewestwood 📸📸📸 @chrissingerme 🎨🎨🎨 @vitatzykun 💽💽💽 @lennysstudio

#Elated #Ecstatic & #ExquistelyExcited for my upcoming #CHPerspectives as part of the #CH1920 Season. These partners? This music? That stage? I’m going all out!!!!! @chicagosymphony #Berlioz150 #CleopatreRules #MaestroMuti @orchestre_metropolitain @nezetseguin #MozartRules #SoDoesSchubert #Winterreise #shespokeoflove #SongsForJoy #OdeToJoy #MasterClasses #Singersrule @medici.tv #itsallaboutthejourney #SoireeTime #BrentanoQuartet @emmanuel_ceysson @mcgillclarinet #WHAAAA? #DebussyRocks #MyFavoriteThings @ilpdo @maxim_emelyanychev #MonteverdiRocks #GluckRocks #HandelObviouslyRocks #PurcellIndubitblyRocks #myhandhurtsfromallthehashtags

A million heartfelt thanks to the extraordinary team at the @abudhabifestival for the unforgettable stay here and the powerful connection in the concert. More to follow, but for the moment my heart is overwhelmed at these last 3 weeks touring such extraordinary cities and venues. It is all imprinted deeply in our hearts. This is a world full of unimagined potential. #TalkPeace #DoPeace #LivePeace

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There will always be more freedom to acquire and more truth to uncover.

~ Joyce DiDonato